STARRING: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita
Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea, David Hemmings, Marcel Marceau, Ugo
Tognazzi, Claude Dauphin
1968, 98 Minutes, Directed by: Roger Vadim
Jane Fonda's memorable, zero-gravity striptease during the opening credits of
this 1968 Roger Vadim movie is the closest the film comes to a liberated
marriage of wit and sex. Based on a French comic strip, the story concerns the
adventures of a 41st-century woman, who pretty much gets it on with whomever
is a "cult" movie in the cynical sense of the word - it
is so shite that it is actually good. Featuring a 29-year-old
Jane Fonda prancing about in all kinds of revealing plastic
clothing, Barbarella could only have been made in the late 1960s when
free love and bad fashion ruled.
It is an extravagant exercise
in bad taste and camp. While it tries to intentionally
funny, some of the humour merely falls flat on its face. Also, despite its
rather short running time, the film has some real slow-moving bits.
Fonda (in said outfits) gets involved in a civil war on a distant
planet while searching for a mad Earth scientist named Duran
Duran (yeah, no further prizes for guessing where this 1980s pop
band got their name from).
Along the way she shags several
including a blind angel, gets strapped into a machine that will make her die of
pleasure by said mad scientist and so forth. All of this to some horrible
?Sixties music that makes Tom Jones and Burt Bacharach sound like the epitome of
cult appeal is obvious: considering Jane Fondas later
involvement in the anti-Vietnam war movement and the very
"worthy" roles she got to play in "serious"
movies (like On Golden Pond and Agnes of God), Barbarella
must be a painful memory for her. Something shed rather
have scrapped from her CV.
Also, it features what must be the
only striptease in zero gravity. Hot stuff indeed . . . so forget
about Pamela Andersen Lee in Barbwire, Jane Fonda in Barbarella
is the original intergalactic shaggadelic babe.